Turkey Supports Albania’s NATO Bid
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha arrive for a press conference after their meeting in Tirana on March 26, 2008. Erdogan is on a one-day visit to Albania.
26 March 2008 Tirana _ Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday his country’s support for Albania’s NATO membership bid at the alliance's summit in Bucharest next week.
Erdogan’s statement came during a joint press conference in Tirana with Albanian premier Sali Berisha. “I want to stress Turkey’s resolve for Albania’s integration into NATO,” Erdogan said. “In the coming Bucharest summit we will support Albania’s NATO bid, together with Macedonia and Croatia,” Erdogan added. In October 2007, NATO's Parliamentary Assembly approved a resolution that endorses the possible issuing of invitations to Albania, Croatia and Macedonia to join the alliance at the Bucharest summit in April.
The resolution calls on these three candidates, known as the Adriatic Charter countries, to push through the necessary reforms, while urging NATO members to initiate discussions on the candidate countries' accession.Erdogan also backed the Tran-Adriatic gas pipeline project, which aims to link the gas grid in Turkey and Greece, through Albania with western European markets. “I will ask again to the institutions involved to back the Albanian portion of the pipeline,” said Erdogan.
A €1.5 billion investment transporting Caspian and Middle East natural gas via Albania and under the Adriatic Sea to Italy and beyond, the pipeline is being developed by StatoilHydro and Swiss EGL Group. It is hoped the project will lower the European Union's dependency on Russian gas.The 520-kilometre pipeline will transport natural gas from Greece to Albania, and across the Adriatic Sea, to Italy's southern Puglia region and further into Western Europe.